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Washington

Fishing

Statewide Freshwater Species Rules

Game Fish

Possession limit for game fish is 2 daily limits in any form.

Bass

(See DOH advisory, Eat Fish, Choose Wisely)

May be caught, retained, and released alive from a livewell until a daily limit is in possession.

  • Largemouth Bass: No min. size in lakes, ponds, and reservoirs. Only largemouth bass less than 12" may be retained, except 1 over 17" may be retained. Daily limit 5. No size restriction/daily limit in rivers, streams, and beaver ponds.
  • Smallmouth Bass: No min. size in lakes, ponds, and reservoirs. Only 1 smallmouth bass over 14" may be retained. Daily limit 10. No size restriction/daily limit in rivers, streams, and beaver ponds.

Walleye:

Min. size 12" in lakes, ponds, and reservoirs. Daily limit 8. Only 1 over 22" may be retained. May be caught, retained, and released alive from a livewell until daily limit is in possession. No size restriction/daily limit in rivers, streams, and beaver ponds.

Channel Catfish:

No min. size in lakes, ponds, and reservoirs. Daily limit 5.

No min. size/daily limit in rivers, streams, and beaver ponds.

Burbot (Freshwater Ling):

No min. size. Daily limit 5.

Crappie, Northern Pikeminnow, Peamouth Chub, Perch, Suckers, Sunfish, Catfish (Except Channel), Rock Bass, Striped Bass:

No min. size. No daily limit.

Grass Carp:

Closed unless otherwise listed in Special Rules.

Kokanee:

No min. size. Daily limit 10. When fishing with bait, all kokanee that are lawful to possess and are equal to or greater than the minimum size are counted as part of the daily limit whether kept or released.

Tiger Muskellunge (Tiger Muskie):

Min. size 50". Daily limit 1.

Whitefish:

No min. size. Daily limit 15.

Steelhead:

Release all wild steelhead.

Min. size 20". Daily limit 2. Open during salmon or game fish seasons unless as otherwise listed.

Trout

The combined daily limit for an angler that fishes in both rivers and lakes on the same day is 5 trout, no more than 2 may be from rivers.

Eastern brook trout do not count towards trout daily limit unless as otherwise listed.

When fishing with bait, all trout that are lawful to possess and are equal to or greater than the minimum size are counted as part of the daily limit whether kept or released.

  • Brown Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout, Lake Trout, Golden Trout, Tiger Trout, and Grayling:
    • In rivers, streams, and beaver ponds: Min. size 8". Daily limit 2.
    • In lakes, ponds, and reservoirs: No min. size. Daily limit 5.
  • Eastern Brook Trout (EBT): No min. size. No daily limit.
  • Dolly Varden/Bull Trout: Closed unless otherwise listed in Special Rules.

Food Fish

Common Carp:

No license required. No min. size. No daily limit. No possession limit. May also be taken by spear or bow-and-arrow. Open only during open game fish or salmon seasons.

Shad:

No min. size. No daily limit. No possession limit. Open only during open game fish or salmon seasons except Apr. 1-May 15: closed in the mainstem Columbia River downstream of Bonneville Dam.

Salmon:

Anglers may not continue to fish for salmon after the adult portion of the daily limit has been retained.

Possession limit — 2 daily limits in fresh form. An additional 40 pounds of salmon may be possessed in frozen or processed form (see Definitions). Atlantic salmon may be retained during any open trout or salmon fishery. There is no size limit or daily limit for Atlantic salmon.

Forage Fish:

No min. size. Daily limit is 10 lbs. in the aggregate with herring, sardines, sandlance, smelt, and anchovies. Possession limit — 2 daily limits in fresh form. Additional smelt may be possessed in a frozen or processed form. All smelt caught must be kept and count toward the daily limit. Smelt may be taken by dip net. Statewide closure of eulachon (Columbia River smelt). Eulachon may not be retained unless authorized by emergency rule. Check for announcements in late January. Fishing for smelt other than eulachon, is open in all rivers except the Columbia River and its tributaries only during open game fish or salmon seasons unless specifically noted in special rules.

White Sturgeon:

Columbia River from Bonneville Dam upstream to McNary Dam including tributaries: Min. size 38" fork length in waters downstream of The Dalles Dam, and min. size 43" fork length in waters upstream of The Dalles Dam. Max. size 54" fork length. Daily limit 1. Possession limit: is 2 daily limits in a fresh, frozen or processed form. Annual limit 2 sturgeon statewide per license year (April 1-March 31). Unless specifically noted in special rules, open only during open game fish or salmon seasons. Please note rules on Statewide General Rules.

Columbia River from Bonneville Dam Downstream, and from McNary Dam to Chief Joseph Dam, Snake River, coastal, and Puget Sound waters including their tributaries: Catch-and-release only. Open only during open game fish or salmon seasons unless specifically noted in special rules. Please note rules on Statewide General Rules.

Green Sturgeon:

It is unlawful to fish for or retain green sturgeon.

Other

Lamprey:

It is unlawful to take, fish for, or possess Pacific lamprey, western brook lamprey, or river lamprey or to use any species of lamprey as fishing bait.

Northern Pike:

No min. size. No daily limit. No possession limit. Must be dead before being removed from riparian area (immediate vicinity of water body).

Other Fish Not Classified as Game Fish or Food Fish:

Closed. See Definitions.

Bullfrogs:

(no license required) No min. size. No daily limit. Must be taken by angling, hand-dip netting, spearing (gigging), or with bow-and-arrow.

Stop the Spread of Invasive Northern Pike

How To Identify Northern Pike

  • Yellow bean-shaped spots
  • Yellow-green to gray-green body
  • Rounded tail fork
  • Scales on cheeks and upper half of gill cover
  • 4 to 5 jaw pores

Do not move live Northern Pike

The penalty for moving live Northern Pike includes up to a $5,000 fine and a year in prison (RCW 77.15.250). A person found guilty can also be ordered to pay all costs of capturing, controlling or killing those fish or their progeny (in excess of $100,000).

If you see someone transporting or releasing live fish, please call the Washington State Patrol.

If caught DO NOT RELEASE

Northern Pike are a prohibited species in Washington state. Anglers should kill ALL Northern Pike they catch. Harvested Northern Pike must be dead before anglers leave the water where they are caught.

How To Report

Take detailed photos, record the location and report a sighting.

Phone: 1.888.WDFW.AIS (1.888.933.9247) Online: invasivespecies.wa.gov App: WA invasives

Washington